I’m filing this one away for activation after I make my first billion…
It turns out there’s an almost entirely abandoned city only 30 miles from The Loop on the shore of Lake Michigan. What a far-sighted someone needs to do is buy up the center of the city and redevelop it into the Model City for the 21st century. First step would be to put in an express rail line to downtown Chicago. Since trains in Europe are now running at well over 120 miles per hour, you could cut the commute to Chicago to a little over 15 minutes. The trains would run around the clock and be serviced by group taxi-vans at the Gary end–this would be the main initial investment. Now, redevelop some of those crumbling buildings into condos for white collar Chicagoans priced out of the urban market there and use the sale of them to finance the rest of the project. Here are a few principles to observe:
- Have the New Gary run entirely off the regional electricity grid. Cover every new building with solar panels, build a solar-thermal power generation plant where some of the abandoned parking lots are now. Put in a wind farm on the edge of Lake Michigan, or wherever around there winds are most dependable.
- Strive for relatively high density, i.e. no useless grassy yards around buildings. But devote some lots on each and every downtown block to intensive community gardening
- Start a whole new school system from scratch, private if necessary, with all schools being within walking distance of the houses that they serve. Invite anyone from the surrounding community to enroll for free in the new, small schools, provided they are willing and able to maintain a certain minimum academic standard.
- The schools would be just one of several methods the developers would have to adopt to win the good will of the previous city residents, who would no doubt initially view the project with suspicion if not downright hostility. Others would be a special effort to hire from the city whenever possible, and perhaps a guaranteed job within the development corporation for anyone from the city who finished the course of study in the “new” school system.
- Eventual long-term goal would be to found a graduate-level university specializing in environmental, energy, and urban development and politics.
But this doesn’t have to wait until I get rich, because any day now, some religious cult might buy up the city and put it to more nefarious uses. Thus, I issue a call for bored billionaires reading this to leave a comment with their contact info. Let’s get to work!del.icio.us |Digg it |ma.gnolia |StumbleUpon |